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Lago. Long live she so! and long live you to

think so ! Oth. And yet, how nature erring from itself, Lago. Ay, there's the point :-As,--to be bold

with you,

Not to affect many proposed matches,
Of her own clime, complexion, and degree;
Whereto, we see, in all things nature tends:
Foh * ! one may smell, in such, a will most rank 4,
Foul disproportion, thoughts unnatural.
But pardon me; I do not, in position,
Distinctly speak of her : though I may fear,
Her will, recoiling to her better judgment,
May fall to match you with her country forms,
And (hapily) repent.
Отн. .

Farewell, farewell:
If more thou dost perceive, let me know more ;
Set on thy wife to observe: Leave me, Iago.

Lago. My lord, I take my leave. [Going Oth. Why did I marry ?- This honest creature,

doubtless, Sees and knows more, much more, than he unfolds. Lago. My lord, I would, I might entreat your

honour To scan this thing no further; leave it to time: Though it be fit that Cassio have his place, (For, sure, he fills it up with great ability,) Yet, if you please to hold him off a while, You shall by that perceive him and his means 5:

* Quarto, Fie.

† First folio, Although 'tis fit.

4 — a will most rank,] Will, is for wilfulness. It is so used by Ascham. A rank will, is self-will overgrown and exuberant.

Johnson. 5 You shall by that perceive him and his MEANS:] You shall discover whether he thinks his best means, his most powerful interest, is by the solicitation of your lady. Johnson. VOL. IX.

2 B

Note, if your lady strain his entertainment 6
With any strong or vehement opportunity;
Much will be seen in that. In the mean time,
Let me be thought too busy in my fears,
(As worthy cause I have, to fear-I am,)
And hold her free, I do beseech your honour.

Orh. Fear not my government'.
Iago. I once more take my leave. [Exit.

Oth. This fellow's of exceeding honesty,
And knows all qualities, with a learned spirito,
Of human dealings: If I do prove her haggard”,



-strain his entERTAINMENT -] Press hard his re-admission to his pay and office. Entertainment was the military term for admission of soldiers. Johnsos.

So, in Coriolanus : “ — the centurions, and their charges, distinctly billeted, and already in the entertainment.” STEEVENS.

7 Fear not my government.] Do not distrust my ability to contain my passion. Johnson. - with a LEARNED spirit,] Learned, for experienced.

WARBURTON. The construction is, He knows with a learned spirit all qualities of human dealings. Johnson.

9 - If I do prove her HAGGARD) A haggard hawk, is a wild hawk, a hawk unreclaimed, or irreclaimable. Johnson.

A haggard is a particular species of hawk. It is difficult to be reclaimed, but not irreclaimable.

From a passage in The White Devil, or Vittoria Corombona, 1612, it appears that haggard was a term of reproach sometimes applied to a wanton : “ Is this your perch, you haggard ? fiy to the stews."

Turbervile says, that “haggart falcons are the most excellent birds of all other falcons." Latham gives to the haggart only the second place in the valued file. In Holland's Leaguer, a comedy, by Shakerly Marmyon, 1633, is the following illustrative passage :

“ Before these courtiers lick their lips at her,

“ I'll trust a wanton haggard in the wind." Again :

“ For she is ticklish as any haggard,

And quickly lost.” Again, in Two Wise Men, and All the Rest Fools, 1619:

the admirable conquest the faulconer maketh in a hawk's na

Though that her jesses were my dear heart-strings,
I'd whistle her off, and let her down the wind,
To prey at fortune? Haply, for I am black;
And have not those soft parts of conversation


ture; bringing the wild haggard, having all the earth and seas to scour over uncontroulably, to attend and obey,” &c. Haggard, however, had a popular sense, and was used for wild by those who thought not on the language of falconers. Steevens.

· Though that her vesses were my dear heart-strings,] Jesses are short straps of leather tied about the foot of a hawk, by which she is held on the fist. Hanmer.

In Heywood's comedy, called, A Woman Killed With Kindness, 1617, a number of these terms relative to hawking occur together :

“ Now she hath seiz'd the fowl, and 'gins to plume her; “ Rebeck her not; rather stand still and check her. “So: seize her gets, her jesses, and her bells.” STEEVENS. 2 I'd whistle her off, and let her down the wind,

To prey at fortune.] The falconers always let fly the hawk against the wind ; if she flies with the wind behind her, she seldom returns. If therefore a hawk was for any reason to be dismissed, she was let down the wind, and from that time shifted for herself, and preyed at fortune. This was told me by the late Mr. Clark.

JOHNSON. This passage may possibly receive illustration from a similar one in Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, p. 2, sect. i. mem. 3: long-winged hawke, when he is first whistled off the fist, mounts aloft, and for his pleasure fetcheth many a circuit in the ayre, still soaring higher and higher, till he comes to his full pitch, and in the end, when the game is sprung, comes down amaine, and stoupes upon a sudden.” Percy. Again, in 'The Spanish Gipsie, 1653, by Middleton and Rowley:

- That young lannerd, “Whom you have such a mind to; if you can whistle her

“ To come to fist, make trial, play the young falconer.A lannerd is a species of a hawk. Again, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Bonduca :

he that basely
Whistled his honour off to the wind," &c. Steevens.
“ Have you not seen, when whistled from the fist,

“ Some falcon stoops at what her eye design'd,
And, with her



quarry miss'd, • Straight flies at check, and clips it down the wind.

Dryden. Ann. Mirabil. BLAKEWAY. - PARTS of conversation -] Parts seem here to be syno

As a

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That chamberers have: Or, for I am declin'd
Into the vale of years ;—yet that's not much ;-
She's gone; I am abus’d; and my relief
Must be to loath her. O curse of marriage,
That we can call these delicate creatures ours,
And not their appetites ! I had rather be a toad,
And live upon the vapour of a dungeon,
Than keep a corner in the thing I love,
For others' uses. Yet, 'tis the plague of great ones;
Prerogativ'd are they less than the base 3;
'Tis destiny unshunnable, like deatho;

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nymous with arts, as in 'Tis Pity She's a Whore, Act II. speaking of singing and musick :

They are parts I love.” Reed. 4- chamberers —] i. e. men of intrigue. So, in the Countess of Pembroke's Antonius, 1590 :

“ Fal'n from a souldier to a chamberer." Again, in Chaucer's Romaunt of the Rose, v. 4935 :

* Only through youth the chamberere.Thus, in the French Poem :

Par la jeunesse la chambriere. Steevens. Chambering and wantonness are mentioned together in the sacred writings. MALONE.

The sense of chamberers may be ascertained from Rom. xiii. 13. where un KOITAIS is rendered, in the common version, “not in chambering.” Henley.

5 Prerogativ’d are they less than the base ;] In asserting that the base have more prerogative in this respect than the great, that is, that the base or poor are less likely to endure this forked plague, our poet has maintained a doctrine contrary to that laid down in As You Like It :-“ Horns ? even so.-Poor men alone? No, no: the noblest deer has them as huge as the rascal.Here we find all mankind are placed on a level in this respect, and that it is “ destiny unshunnable, like death." Shakspeare would have been more consistent if he had written :

Prerogativ'd are they more than the base ? ” Othello would then have answered his own question : [No:] 'Tis destiny, &c. MALONE.

Allowance must be made to the present state of Othello's mind : passion is seldom correct in its effusions. Steevens.

6 'Tis destiny unshunnable, like death ;] To be consistent, Othello must mean, that it is destiny unshunnable by great ones, not by all mankind. Malone.

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Even then this forked plague’ is fated to us,
When we do quicken. Desdemona comes ° :

If she be false, O, then heaven mocks itself'!-
I'll not believe it.


7- forked plague -]

In allusion to a barbed or forked arrow, which, once infixed, cannot be extracted. Johnson.

Or rather, the forked plague is the cuckold's horns. Percy. Dr. Johnson may be right. I meet with the same thought in Middleton's comedy of A Mad World my Masters, 1608 :

“ While the broad arrow, with the forked head,

“ Misses his brows but narrowly.” Again, in King Lear:

· though the fork invade

“ The region of my heart." STEEVENS. I have no doubt that Dr. Percy's interpretation is the true one. Let our poet speak for himself. Quoth she," says Pandarus. in Troilus and Cressida,“ which of these hairs is Paris, my husband ? The forked one," quoth he; "pluck it out, and give it him.” · Again, in The Winter's Tale:

o'er head and ears a fork’d one." So, in Tarleton's News out of Purgatorie:

16 — but the old squire, knight of the forked order—."

One of Sir John Harrington's Epigrams, in which our poet's very expression is found, puts the matter beyond a doubt :

“ Actæon guiltless unawares espying
“ Naked Diana bathing in her bowre,
“ Was plagu'd with hornes; his dogs did him devoure;
“ Wherefore take heed, ye that are curious, prying,
“ With some such forked plague you be not smitten,
“ And in your foreheads see your faults be written."

MALONE. 8 — Desdemona comes :) Thus the quartos. The folio reads Look where she comes. STEEVENS.

9 If she be false, O, then heaven mocks itself!] i. e. renders its own labours fruitless, by forming so beautiful a creature as Desdemona, and suffering the elegance of her person to be disgraced and sullied by the impurity of her mind.-Such, I think, is the meaning.–The construction, however, may be different. If she be false, O, then even heaven itself cheats us with “ unreal mockeries,” with false and specious appearances, intended only to deceive. MALONE.

The first of the foregoing explanations, is, I believe, the true one. If she be false, heaven disgraces itself by creating woman

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